Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Month: May 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Extra Pour Spring Edition

In this edition of the Extra Pour you’ll find out about how “Meritage Blends Bring Success to Local Winemakers.” Click on the image to download the latest Extra Pour!

Weekend Happenings

There are lots of wine events coming up this weekend. We suggest you check out the Virginia Wineries website for a full listing of events. Piedmont Vinyards, Philip Carter, and Barrel Oak are three that we might be attending. What are you doing this wine weekend?

At Piedmont Vineyards and Winery:

At Philip Carter Winery:

May 29: Anniversary of American Wine – the 248th Anniversary Celebration of American Wine Festival, a three day event. Join hosts, Mr. Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Charles Carter, for our third annual 1762 Gold Medal Ceremony and discover why the Carter family is recognized as the first family of American wine.

It’s a day of fun in wine country for the entire family. Be there for the release of “Cleve”, a full-bodied red Bordeaux that is both complex and sophisticated, and enjoy the modern day juxtaposed to the eighteenth century! Hear the voices of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Carter as they speak of their personal connection to wine in young America.

Link-in to the Philip Carter Virtual Tweet-up & Tasting that will explore each Philip Carter wine, including Cleve, during the event, and bring Twitter, Facebook & Foursquare fans together.

Activities include live music, delicious foods, hay rides and moon bounce, and much, much more. Author, Marc Leepson returns. and, as always, all well behaved canine friends are welcomed. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

At Barrel Oak:

It is Barrel Oak Winery’s 2nd anniversary and we are celebrating this Memorial Day Weekend in several amazing ways! We are:

1. Releasing our most popular wines this weekend: BOWHaus White and BOWHaus Red as well as our highly anticipated Rose.
2. Opening the new art show by Ben Roeder: “Traces of Memory, an Abstract Introspective”.
3. Featuring great live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights!
4. Giving a Golden Ticket to every purchaser of a case of our wine. These Golden Tickets contain the gift of a free tasting for two, a combo platter, a bottle of wine, or a membership in our BOWClub. These gifts range in value from $18 to $175.
5. Raffling off TWO Aged Barrels with memberships in our Barrel Club. Each membership has a value of over $1300. Everyone tasting our wines will receive a raffle ticket.

Additionally, on Saturday and Sunday we will have awesome food service from Local 647, serving the best locally sourced farm-fresh organic foods and runners up winners of ABC Weekend’s 2009 Best Food Cart in America Competition.

There will be great music Friday from 6-9 with Demetrios and Curtis and dancing to the sunsets on Saturday 6-9pm to local favorites eNVee and Sunday 6-9pm to the Fabulous Exaggerations! And Sunday we will have old-timey music during the day with Poor Ellen Smith.

We have seating for over 400 guests and of course as always, dogs, kids and picnics are welcome!

Please join us at BOW for the perfect blend of Farm, Family, and Fun!
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Have a great weekend!

Return to Corcoran

We recently visited Corcoran Vineyards. Corcoran happens to be one of our favorites. We always have a good time and enjoy chatting about anything wine with Jim and Lori Corcoran. The day we visited Jim Corcoran was on hand and we had a great conversation about wine and the wine industry.

We started our tasting with the whites of course. We tasted the 2008 Chardonnay. We noted green apple, peaches and a hint of a floral nose. We then tasted the Seyval Blanc with it’s lemon-lime flavors and sweetness, we know this one is a favorite of many. We were disappointed to find out the 2008 Viognier and the 2007 Traminette were sold out.

Onto the reds we started with my favorite, the Malbec. We noted its dark fruit, smooth tannins, and medium body. Warren noted some cedar and oak. This has been a favorite of mine since it was released. I know there aren’t many cases left. We moved on to the Meritage. Descriptors that we wrote down were dried fruit, raisin, fresh herby quality, and deep rich color. We can see this one becoming one of our favorites. We ended the reds with the 2007 Mary’s Cuvee. This one is a collaboration between Lori Corcoran and Mary Watson. It consists of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Tannat. We noted the fruit right up front. It has smooth tannins with a hint of spice. Nice job Lori and Mary!

After our tasting we enjoyed a bottle of the Malbec with our lunch. While finishing the bottle we were joined by Jim Corcoran. As I mentioned earlier, we had a great conversation about all things wine. We could sit and chat with Jim (or Lori or both) for hours and hours. Before long we had to get moving. We thanked Jim for a wonderful afternoon and headed home. If you find yourself in Loudoun County be sure to stop at Corcoran Vineyards or Hunters Run Wine Barn which features Corcoran wines.

Spring Wine Festival

Today we went to the Spring Wine Festival at the Plains. The weather was cool and cloudy but the sun came out a few times. We had the opportunity to sample many wines from wineries all over the state of Virginia. We also had some delicious foods, participated in a California versus Virginia Twitter taste off, and heard some great music.

We were able to tasted wines at 15 different booths. We took lots of notes but couldn’t possibly let you know about each and every winery. Here are highlights from today’s tastings. We picked out a few to share with you. We’ll list the winery and the wine we noted.

Rockbridge-Pinot Noir
Castle Gruen-The King’s Red
Unicorn-Slightly Embarrassed
Abingdon-White Pinot Noir
Cooper-Viognier
Hiddencroft-Dutchman’s Creek
Virginia Mountain-Traminette
Aspen Dale-Consistant quality-we loved all their wines
Stone Mountain-Traminette
Pearmund-both were good
Kluge-Blanc de Blanc
Del Fosse-Reserve d’Oriane
Miracle Valley-Sweet Michelle
Vincent’s Vineyard-Cab Franc
Delaplane Cellars-Honah Lee Viognier

There were several other wineries in attendance but we didn’t have time to get to them all.

The Twitter Taste Off was described like this:

“You be the judge! Come into our wine laboratory and blind-taste your favorite Virginia varietal from several wineries side by side! Brandon Walsh, of Hosted Wine Tasting, will add a non-VA wine to each flight just to make it interesting. Varietals for this exclusive tasting includes Virginia’s best Chardonnays, Viogniers, Cabernets, Merlots and Bordeaux-style Blends.”

It was exactly that. We tasted a viognier from California and Virginia. The Delaplane Cellars Honah Lee Viognier beat the California viognier. We then tasted cab franc from both and the California cab franc won. The last tasting of merlots was a toss up. Half liked the California and half liked the Miracle Valley Merlot. Warren and I were split as well. I liked the California and Warren enjoyed the Miracle Valley.

We ended the day with some biscotti and a glass of the Delaplane Cellars Honah Lee Viognier while listening to Bianca Merkley on the music stage. It began to rain so we called it a day and headed home. We were pleased with the wines we were able to taste today. We highly recommend the wine festivals at the Plains. There’s something there for everyone.

Gadino Cellars

On our way home from Sharp Rock a few weeks ago, we stopped at Gadino Cellars to see what was new. We were lucky enough to have Stephanie conduct our tasting. Stephanie is the assistant winemaker and tasting room manager. She’s always so informative and helpful when she conducts our tasting.

We started with the whites. We tasted the 2007 Barrel Select Chardonnay, the 2008 Sunset, and the 2008 Moonrise (which is actually more of a rose’). Our gold star went to the 2007 Barrel Select Chardonnay with it’s hints of apple and pear and nice nutty finish. Stephanie informed us the 2009 Pinot Grigio, the 2009 Viognier, and the 2009 Barrel Select Chardonnay will be released soon. The 2009 Pinot Grigio is already in the bottle. She let me buy one but I promised not to open it until July. I have it in the fridge waiting for July. I’ve been a fan of the Pinot Grigio for a long time so I’m really looking forward to this one.

We then tasted the reds. We tasted the 2008 Cab Franc, the 2007 Petit Verdot, the 2005 Reserve Merlot, and the 2008 Imagine, which was new to us. Even though the Imagine has 3% residual sugar you’d never know it. It’s a blend of chambourcin, cab franc, and cabernet sauvignon. Our gold star went to the 2005 Reserve Merlot. It has a nice cherry nose, smoother tannins which are integrated well. This is another of my favorites. I still have one bottle on my rack that I’ll be holding on to for awhile.

After our tasting and chatting with Stephanie, we decided to enjoy a glass of the 2007 Barrel Select Chardonnay on the deck. It was an unusually warm day for early May. The cool chardonnay hit the spot. Believe it or not, I was so caught up in the tasting, I didn’t take any photos! Next time I’ll be sure to snap some photos. Plan a stop at Gadino soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Wine Festival at the Plains

What are you doing this weekend? We’d like to suggest the Spring Wine Festival at the Plains. There will be over 250 Virginia wines presented for tasting. There will be fine art, fancy food, culinary seminars, musical entertainment, and the opening night of Twilight Polo.

We attended this event last fall and loved it. Many of the wineries we are unable to get to, taste their wines at this festival. It’s a great way to taste some wines you’d never get to taste unless you made a trip to their tasting room.

Check out the website and get your tickets now! We’ll see you there!

Linden Barrel Tasting

So we’re behind in our postings, but we promise to get caught up. (Darn those 9-5 things called jobs!)  Anyway, we did attend the Linden barrel tasting held on May 2 and wanted to post about the event.  We love all things Linden, and this barrel tasting confirmed for us that Jim Law is an incredible winemaker.  Of course, he does get phenomenal support from superb fruit cultivated from the Avenius and Boisseau vineyards, and these wines all prove this theorem to be correct—great wine starts in the vineyard.

Our cellar tasting began with the cult-favorite 2009 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc paired with mussels.  Is there another word for “divine”?  Please let us know!  Classic Sauvignon Blanc characteristics prevailed here with the signature minerality associated with the Avenius Sauvignon Blanc.  In fact, we met up with Shari who presented her 2009 Chardonnay at the Concrete Egg.  Yes, a concrete egg.  This storage device could well pass for an atom bomb, but indeed it does house evolving Chardonnay wine that would otherwise ferment in a stainless steel tank.  Shari explained to us that this is not new technology and the egg does provide a more stable environment for wine to develop.  We await the final results, of course, since this sample was quite young; however, we do anticipate a more French-style offering.

And so on to the red wine barrel samples.  Which were the faves?  We reached a split decision, but it a tough decision. Paul’s nod went to the 2009 Boisseau Cabernet Franc due to its fruit-forward presentation.  I gravitated toward the more complex 2009 Hardscrabble barrel with its blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  Jim’s father poured from this barrel, and I appreciated the story behind the blend—a difficult spring that gave way to a remarkable summer that will produce a cellar-worthy Bordeaux-style wine.

From there we proceeded to the special release room where upcoming releases were being tasted.  Here again we reached different conclusions.  I held my ultimate gold star for the special release room, and it was presented to the 2007 Hardscrabble Red. The composite here was similar to the barrel sample but included Petit Verdot and splash of Carmenere.  Dark fruit, pencil shavings, and a spicy edge defined this one; given that it’s from the stellar 2007 vintage, count on a cellar-worthy offering to boot.  Paul preferred the more accessible 2007 Avenius Red which was dominated by Petit Verdot but supported by a generous splash of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Drink now or later, this pour offered blackberries, raspberries, and a bit of nutmeg to complement grilled fare that may include a dash of barbeque sauce.

With our barrel tasting done, we enjoyed a glass of the 2009 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc with a baguette.  It was a lovely spring afternoon, and Jim Law’s tasting room offers spectacular mountain views which aw appreciated as we sipped and nibbled. Remember, the cellar tasting is offered to case club members; so, visit Linden to try their current releases and you might be tempted to purchase a case in order to enjoy the benefits.  Be sure to mention, though, that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Invisible Glassware?

Yes, the wine glasses are virtually invisible thanks to the latest in glassware technology from Ravenscroft. I sampled their invisible cab/Bordeaux glass this past weekend, and I can testify to the invisible-weight nature of this glass. The lead-free crystal glass allows the aficionado to appreciate the wine to the fullest extent possible without the extra weight of lead-burdened glass. Wine lovers who want to know more about this new development in glass technology should visit Ravenscroft.

Lovingston Reserve Merlot

Just a quick post about the 2006 Reserve Merlot from Lovingston Winery. We had this tonight with filet mignon and rice. It was amazing. First of all I was upset that we even opened it so soon after getting it. This one could have laid down for several years.

The color is beautiful. I think it might have a splash of petit verdot to give it the rich color but I can’t be sure. Warren disagrees. However, Warren believed this merlot benefitted from decanting thanks to the convenient Soiree aerator. I noted extremely smooth tannins. Warren noted dark cherry and plum with a dry earthy/herbal quality. It complimented our steaks well. Koodos to Riann.

Closing In On 100 Virginia Wineries Visited!

A recent visit to Sharp Rock Vineyards brings our count to 98, a feat that has taken us five years to accomplish.  With so many new wineries opening up, we predict that #100 is in our sights.  However, we were quite pleased with our first experience at Sharp Rock Vineyards, and we enjoyed meeting winemaker Jim East in the process.

Located at the foot of Old Rag Mountain, Sharp Rock offers a stunning mountain view.  As we approached the tasting room, we were greeted by a couple of lovable dogs who were eager to give us a handshake.  The tasting room itself is a renovated 100 year old barn, and we were greeted by winemaker Jim East as we entered the room.  Four white wines were available for tasting, and my favorite was the Burgundian-style 2008 Chardonnay Reserve.  It presented notes of pear, toasted almonds and vanilla with a honeyed texture in the mouth which comes from aging in French oak barrels. Paul favored the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, a perfect summer wine with citrus and mineral characteristics.  Speaking of summer pours, don’t miss the dry 2009 Rose made from Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s crisp and offers refreshing strawberry and melon flavors.

Of the reds, Paul and I both preferred the light-bodied 2008 Synergy, which is a blend of Petit Verdot and Merlot.  Cherries and plums were noted here with some subtle aromas of cinnamon spice.  This one can be a sipper with cheeses and a baguette but can be offered with summer grilled fare.  Look for the fall release of the 2008 Malbec which promises to be a rich, fuller-bodied wine just in time for the fall menus that include heavier roasted meats and game.

In the course of our tasting, Jim shared with us his commitment to producing small quantities of quality wines.  His twelve bottling are made from estate-grown fruit that include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.  Since the winery opened in 1998, Sharp Rock’s wines have won numerous national and international awards, but the best commendations come from customers who visit Sharp Rock Vineyards to enjoy nice wines and lovely scenery. 

After our tasting, we shared a glass of the Chardonnay Reserve and took in the gorgeous mountain views. Our friendly greeters returned to make us feel at home (and to hope that a stray cracker might accidentally fall from the table.)  As we sipped and savored, we were glad to add Sharp Rock Vineyards to the growing list of wineries visited, and we pondered which future visit might push us closer to the 100 mark.  Of course, we know that we will return to Sharp Rock Vineyards for a second time, but readers may want to visit sooner—be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

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